Lessons from the rural reconstruction movement - Philippine Health ...

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Lessons from the rural reconstruction movement - Philippine Health

Lessons from the rural reconstruction movement TUESDAY, 26 JUNE 2012 20:33 DR. EDUARDO P. BANZON / PHILHEALTH CARES AFTER I graduated from the University of the Philippines College of Medicine back in 1992, I joined the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM). I was immediately assigned to my home province of Negros Occidental, where I got to work with Jondi, Buboy, Greg, Buddy, Elmer, Fred, Josie, Tata, Elsie, Arlene, Bridget, Heidi, Dawn, Mafe and many other wonderful young professionals. It was in PRRM that I learned Dr. James Yen’s credo of rural reconstruction. Go to the people, Live among them, Learn from them, Plan with them, Work with them. The large informal sector in the country makes the challenge of attaining universal health care doubly hard for us. Unlike the formal sector where employers are mandated to ensure enrollment, the informal sector is covered either through government subsidies or selfpayment by the members themselves. In order to enjoin the self-paying members into the program, we invest considerable time and resources to go to them and listen to them. Interestingly, we learned that, for most, convenience takes precedence over the actual cost of premiums. Thus, we have taken steps to promote convenience by adding more partner collecting agents and mall-based payment centers, thereby expanding our points of service. We will soon start the PhilHealth Mobile Orientation, Validation and Enrollment Scheme (PhilHealth Moves) to bring our own offices to areas where the informal-sector members are concentrated. We commit to work closely with informal-sector groups to facilitate their sustained enrollment. Start with what they know, Build on what they have, Teach by showing, Learn by doing. The country’s informal sector is known globally for the diversity of its organized groups, ranging from large national cooperatives, mutual funds and micro-finance institutions to community drug insurances, among others. Cooperatives are particularly special as they embody the modern bayanihan. We, in PhilHealth, believe that the nature of cooperatives—their power to function on shared member responsibility and mutual trust—makes them and other organized groups necessary partners in attaining universal health care. They are social solidarity in action. Thus, as early as 2003, PhilHealth began building on the strengths of these informal-sector organizations through its PhilHealth Organized Groups Initiative (Pogi) to spark group enrollment. Lessons from Pogi and its successor project (Kasapi), including policy concerns and issues raised by the groups themselves, have all shaped the development of the new i- Group—the most responsive and streamlined organized group enrollment program designed by PhilHealth to date. i-Group provides a platform for providing continuous PhilHealth coverage to both small groups, with as few as 30 members, and large cooperatives, with hundreds of thousands of members.

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